Butter Chicken


Butter chicken is creamy, buttery, and oh so tasty!

Butter chicken is not quite as sweet and tangy as chicken tikka masala is. In comparison it’s much more of a North Indian or Punjabi curry. It has the traditionally layered flavors of ginger, garlic, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, combined with cream and butter; making it thick, creamy, and hearty. The heavy use of butter just makes it Punjabi goodness!

Curry is not something you’d make for a quick dinner or just toss together in a short amount of time. I nearly hate that there are so many quick fix recipes out there, simply because it’s a ramshackle way to make something that is best when done painstakingly. You can’t make a fabulous roast, rack of ribs, Thanksgiving turkey, paella, or coq au vin in 30 minutes, similarly you can’t get a great curry in 30 minutes. Traditional curry takes hours to prepare, simmer, and to perfectly layer the flavors. At only an hour-ish cook time, this curry is considered a fast one. If you’re up against a time deadline, consider something easier like a fry up. Fry ups are perfect midweek and VERY tasty. But if you do have the time and the patience, a good curry will fix all that is wrong with your day.

Fun fact #65: Curry means gravy.

Maybe a fun fact #66: Curry spice is actually a British concoction.

I think it’s a fun fact #67: There is a curry leaf – which tastes NOTHING like curry spice – and is predominately found in South Indian cuisine.

Looking for a few more Indian restaurant classics? Try these:

Butter Chicken

Course: Main CoursesCuisine: PunjabiDifficulty: Medium


Prep time




Cooking time






Cook Mode

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  • For Marinade:
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 tbsp ginger, minced

  • 1 serrano pepper, minced

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp garam masala, ground

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tbsp cumin seed, ground

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper

  • 2 lbs chicken, skinless and cubed (you can use bone-in)

  • For Gravy:
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 large onion, finely diced

  • 6 cloves garlic, pureed

  • 2 tbsp ginger, pureed

  • 1 chili pepper, finely minced

  • 2 tbsp whole garam masala, ground

  • 2 whole dried red chilies

  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seed, ground

  • 1 Indian bay leaf

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tbsp coriander seed, ground

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 4 cardamom pods

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 1 cup water

  • 6 tomatoes, pureed

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 stick of butter

  • Salt, to taste

  • Cilantro for garnish

  • black mustard seed for garnish

Equipment/Specialty Items


  • Marinade:
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk yogurt till smooth.
  • Add in garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, lemon juice, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  • Mix in chicken and coat evenly.
  • Refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours, overnight if possible for the best flavor.
  • Cooking Chicken:
  • These are best cooked over the grill however, if you’re not going to bbq these, use the broiler.
  • For broiler: Position the oven rack about 8 inches from the heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the pieces of chicken on a baking sheet.
  • Broil the chicken, turning over from time to time to ensure even cooking, for approximately 10 minutes or until the outside has brown/crispy spots.
  • Cooking Gravy:
  • Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Saute onions until deep brown approximately 10-15 minutes. Make sure to continue stirring to avoid burning.
  • Add in garlic and ginger and saute till fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.
  • Add in chili pepper and saute till fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add in garam masala, dried chilies, cumin, Indian bay leaf, turmeric, and ground coriander seeds. Cook till fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add in cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in water.
  • Pour in pureed tomatoes and cayenne pepper. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and turns deep brownish red. Approximately 10 minutes.
  • Stir in cream and butter.
  • Add in chicken and cook for 10 minutes, till chicken is cooked through.
  • At this point the sauce should be thick and bubbling. If it’s too thick add in water.
  • Add in salt.
  • Serve:
  • Garnish with cilantro and mustard seeds. Serve with roti and raita.

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Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container


  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 40.9g 62%
    • Saturated Fat 20.1g 100%
  • Cholesterol 202mg 68%
  • Sodium 1564mg 66%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 22mg 1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 26.5g 9%
    • Dietary Fiber 4.4g 16%
    • Sugars 10.6g
  • Protein 52.4g 104%
  • Calcium 22%
  • Iron 30%
  • Vitamin D 131%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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